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Christopher Murphy

Natick, MA United States

ratings
204
REVIEWS
20
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
24

  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass
    • Narrated By Johny Heller
    Overall
    (420)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (242)

    About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know---and that means the good stuff.

    Batman says: "History can be entertaining."
    "Not That Irreverent, But Still Really Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Mental Floss History of the World to be better than the print version?

    No. I think some of the humor is lost via the reader, who falls flat. I would also assume that there would be maps, lists and graphs that would enhance the print version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I love the fact that they try and encompass everything. And for the most part, I think they get as much as could be expected or imagined in one volume. They treat the pre-Colombian Americas and Africa with equal respect to Asia and Europe, which few books attempt. They tend to do very cursory glances over big historical moments so they can include a larger vision, and it feels like they are respectful to the reader by assuming that they know about WWI or WWII, rather than treating people like they never heard of it. They do a really good job of talking about cause and effect. Rather than use taxation/representation as the cause of the American Revolution, they link it back the French and Indian War.Despite being a general history book, and I have a lot of knowledge in the area, I was still introduced to new facts. I loved that.Overall, a great primer book for further exploration with a lot of respect for all cultures. Wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.


    What aspect of Johny Heller’s performance would you have changed?

    He falls flat on their attempts at humor. I think that he doesn't do them justice in the "irreverence" aspect.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    God no. You digest this one in hour segments. I listened to this at the same time I listened to another book. I feel if you try to do too much of this at one time, you might get too much information and therefor not process as much as if you take it slowly.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3132)
    Performance
    (2790)
    Story
    (2784)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Ethan M. says: "Bryson is really good at what he does- a standout"
    "Such a great concept and executed perfectly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Take a season of one year and use it to explain history that is pertinent both prior and post. Amazing. And. It works because Bryson is an amazing writer. But I hope it's the start of a genre

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Barry Schwartz
    • Narrated By Ken Kliban
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (926)
    Performance
    (757)
    Story
    (754)

    By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on the important ones and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

    Darwin8u says: "The Tyranny of Pop Economics"
    "Not my Best Choice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    1:15 to start on the myriad of ways contemporary affluent Americans are "forced" to choose.

    Dodgy scientifically when he leaves the arena of "opinion". 93% of Americans are religious? Nope. 16% of Americans self describe as atheist/agnostic. Why fudge numbers like that?

    Would have been an excellent op-Ed piece. And you can tell from the amount of filler just to make this into an acceptable book length

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dad Is Fat

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jim Gaffigan
    • Narrated By Jim Gaffigan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6944)
    Performance
    (6224)
    Story
    (6191)

    In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children - everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills ("they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news"), to the eating habits of four-year-olds ("there is no difference between a four-year-old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor").

    Sean says: "Good for Gaffigan fans - better for expecting dads"
    "Weird to rate Gaffigan as "Meh""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good enough book but if you are a fan of Gaffigan, then he will use core material from time to time. And when he does, it lacks the polish of his act as he honed it on and for stage and not for an audiobook. It's almost disturbing to hear some of his better jokes told so flatly. So if not somebody who has listened to his act over and over, then highly suggested. But if a big fan like me, read it as you will put the jokes in his stage voice.

    Overall, like his stories and filling I the gaps of his life that I know some of, from act, is great. But I wish I had read rather than listened (and this is often true with comedian books for me)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Saturn's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Charles Stross
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (207)

    In Saturn's Children, Freya is an obsolete android concubine in a society where humans haven't existed for hundreds of years. A rigid caste system keeps the Aristos, a vindictive group of humanoids, well in control of the lower, slave-chipped classes. So when Freya offends one particularly nasty Aristo, she's forced to take a dangerous courier job off-planet.

    Katherine says: "Fun and adventure in a post-human galaxy"
    "If you know it's erotica beforehand, it might help"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I went into this thinking it was a sci-fi book. But it's more erotica than anything. And if you're not prepared for that, it will kill the story. I would tune out way too often because of the weird sex scenes and would then have lost some key moments that were plot related by the time I remembered to actively listen again. I was just too uncommitted (or disturbed) to rewind. I think they meant for "space opera" to be a clue as to the erotic nature....but I missed the point.

    Underneath all the Rule 34/Japanese Manga bizarro-ness is a sci-fi story with a few good things. For example the idea of humans leaving robots that are still tied to human rules programmed into them. And a very realistic take on space travel. However, as I said, it's not always easy to follow.

    So if you are looking to read this, I don't want to discourage you. Just know that it's 50 shades of gray for robots. That way you don't get lost in a barrage of "what the heck am I listening to moments" that make it difficult to get engaged with the plot. You may end up liking it way more with that in mind.

    Good luck.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By George Friedman
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1352)
    Performance
    (773)
    Story
    (783)

    In The Next 100 Years, Friedman turns his eye on the future. Drawing on a profound understanding of history and geopolitical patterns dating back to the Roman Empire, he shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, experiencing the dawn of a new historical cycle.

    Ryan says: "Take with a few grains of salt"
    "Very interesting!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've seen people talk about his predictions, but don't get caught up in that.

    He uses his knowledge to take a stab at predicting the next 100 years. How accurate will it be? Probably not a lot. But he called the crisis in the Ukraine six years ago. So he is starting out strong.

    All of his forecasting is just fun and interesting.

    The underlying logic is what's important. Geopolitics and US grand strategy. How the short-term need to apply this strategy leads to new enemies/allies. I think he does a fairly good job of interpreting the grand strategies of Russia, Japan and Germany too. I'm a bit less certain on Turkey, Mexico and Poland. And the subject of immigration is mind-boggling good.

    Give it a shot. It's well worth it if you don't get bogged down on the details.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (8143)
    Performance
    (5200)
    Story
    (5227)

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Joey says: "One of my favorite books"
    "Low Grade Porn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A sexy sexy science fiction story. And by sexy sexy, I mean boring and quite useless. Everybody will tell you this is some great story. It is not. It's sometimes porn, sometimes a diatribe about the stupid, animistic nature of males and on the rare occasion females. There is no point and a great idea is wasted on a series of sexcapades and rather forced pregnancy episode.

    So think 50 Shades of Gray but uppity about it and with less-kinky sex.

    It sucked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3412)
    Performance
    (2310)
    Story
    (2327)

    Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.

    Rebecca says: "Have the book handy"
    "Offensively Ignorant Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Jonathan Davis and will listen to more books with him as narrator. But I don't know what he was doing here. This book is about Catalonia. And it specifically about a Catalan society that suffered under the oppression of Franco. Catalans do not, to a very distinct point, refer to Barcelona with a "th" sound. It is Bar-sa-lona, not Bar-tha-lona. That is the Castilian pronunciation and while it's use isn't as as extreme as it once was (although you could still get pummeled for using it in some places), back when this book was happening, it would have been up there with some of the most offensive racial epithets we refuse to use today. It is seriously that bad. And he does it 100's of times.

    In fact, he will mention FC Barcelona, who quite literally abbreviate their name as Barça, with the French cedilla, to emphasize how much they detest the "th" sound when referring to them.

    And it's important, because the Catalan language was brutally oppressed during the Franco regime and the Camp Nou, where Barça play, was the only place where people could speak it in a large group.

    So how he could take a book about Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War, it's far-reaching effects on all of Spain, but specifically Catalonia in this book and not figure out this is beyond me. I'm not Catalan and have never been (although it's on my bucket list) and yet I know enough about these things to cringe every time he said it.

    Despite his ignorance (or the production teams), he does a good job with the book outside of this. And I still thought it was quite enjoyable as a story.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs)
    • By Greta Christina
    • Narrated By Greta Christina
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (430)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (379)

    Why are atheists angry? Is it because they're selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry - and are ready to do something about it? Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it. This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but also to believers who want to understand the so-called new atheism.

    Amy says: "LOVE THIS!"
    "She Doesn't Speak For All of Us"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Seriously, this woman is not worth your time if you're an atheist with any amount of critical thinking. She exists for that segment of us that just is looking for a reason to hate. I hate those people as much as I hate fundies in other philosophical enclaves.

    You can find an atheist with a love of knowledge, a sense of humor, a sense of propriety and a need for truth.

    Oh wait. You can find thousands of them. You can find many of them that write books.

    She's not of them.

    And comparing herself to the like of Dawkins and the Hitch just makes me loathe her.

    So if you aren't an atheist......she's not a good sampling

    If you are......you should know better.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3245)
    Performance
    (2945)
    Story
    (2946)

    This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

    Lizzystick says: "Annoyingly good..."
    "A lovely surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Basically I bought too many books at some point. Some of them have turned out to be disappointments.

    But not this one. I started this just to say I tried and give up on it. Ripped through the entire thing in days. Absolutely loved it.

    Pros:
    Interested angle in the post-apocayptic genre and that's not easy to do

    Makes the story, characters and finale interesting.

    Cons:
    When Minnie laughs for a character. Seriously this is probably the only complaint I have about the entire book. Her performance otherwise.....is great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Economics in One Lesson

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Henry Hazlitt
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1534)
    Performance
    (1029)
    Story
    (1024)

    Called by H.L. Mencken, "one of the few economists in history who could really write," Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for his brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes, and recession.

    Ferg Merkl says: "New to Economics? Start here!"
    "This is for the right"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Henry Hazlitt and/or Jeff Riggenbach?

    No. Obviously he has his political stance and I don't share his values so I couldn't even finish this one.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Not angry. Basically this book has a view and an opinion but doesn't back it up with evidence. If I agreed with right wing laissez-faire economics, then I'm sure I would like this. But I don't. I see the world of economics in shades of gray. If you live in the world of gray rather than black and white, then this will probably not be worth your time.


    Any additional comments?

    Even if I didn't share the values of this economist, I was opened to learning something. But it's so obviously tinged with an agenda that I couldn't even do that. Big disappointment.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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